Bi-Pride – an interview with Davey Nauth

The very first UK Bi Pride is happening this weekend at the Round Chapel in Hackney, London where there are BSL interpreters at this free event! There are interpreters for their Entertainment Stage where UK Bi and LGBTIQA+performances and at the I Am Proud stage for panels, activism and talks. There are also stalls at the event where you can explore too to get different information and buy things. The event starts at 2pm and ends at 10pm and you can easily get your free tickets online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bi-pride-uk-2019-tickets-65781146179

I asked Davey Nauth, a deaf bisexual man who is involved in organising this event for more information about this exciting upcoming event. 

Can you explain a little about yourself and your role for the Bi-Pride?

My name is Davey Nauth and I was born hearing-impaired and use Signed Support English. I joined Bi Pride UK last year as a trustee member to organise Bi Pride UK. 

How did you get involved in the first place and being deaf, is communication smooth in the organising? 

Bi Pride UK advertised for committee members so I applied to get involved and accepted their offer as a Digitial and Technology trustee member. I had an BSL interpreter for the interview so it went smoothly.

In your own words, why is Bi Pride important to have in the UK today? 

It will be first Bi Pride in the United Kingdom, as last year there was a first one in America. It made us realsie how important it is for us to show publicity without fear from biphobia, bi-erasure and bi-invisiblity as they are all prevalent issues. Our chairperson said “Bi and pan people are just not having their voices heard loud enough. Don’t get me wrong, Prides all across the UK do amazing things for bi people and do cater for bi groups, however people who experience attraction beyond gender, make up a significant proportion of the LGBTQ community and bi people are not getting enough of the limelight.”. We aim to create a safe space for bisexuals, pansexuals and all those who experience attraction beyond gender, projecting one simple clear message – bisexual people exist and, more importantly, bisexual people matter.

Since having being established last year, we have been giving advice to Prides across the UK on how to make them more inclusive for deaf attendances. Can you give us some advice on how to do more on this?

As I can see that your organisation have been working hard in trying to make deaf bisexuals more inclusive and visible in other Prides, you could also advise to make other Prides as accessible as possible – with BSL interpreters on-stage, and roaming BSL interpreters on-site.

How did you come about in ensuring BSL access is part of the first Bi Pride? 

My colleague and I advised to have BSL interpreters on-site for deaf attendances to feel more welcome and more inclusive to their needs.

What advice would you give to people who are coming out as Bisexuals? 

Please join us at our first Bi Pride UK or talk to me about future Bi events across the world. Do not listen to anyone saying that you cannot be bisexual or you have to choose only one side! No more hiding from yourself, be free and fluid in your way whatever way you wish to be!

I can be contacted at davey.trustee@biprideuk.org

LGBT consortium Grant

We have some amazing news to share! The lovely people at LGBT consortium have granted the Deaflgbtiqa organisation £5980!

DEAFLGBTIQA is the UK’s only Deaf led LGBTIQA charity which has been successful in securing funding from the LGBT Consortium to carry out ground breaking research into the needs of members of the Deaf LGBTIQA+ community.

This will help us to carry out consultations with people who are deaf and identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or asexual (LGBTIQA) in England. The funding will be used to train volunteers and implement focus groups around England to find out the views of Deaf LGBTIQA people, capture issues they have from being in a “minority within a minority” group and explore how service providers can improve community engagement.

Chair, Tyron Woolfe, “We are delighted that the hard work of the board, working in close partnership with the LGBT Consortium has led to the allocation of the grant to us. We are looking forward to seeing the results of the research to help us develop and grow and facilitate other projects to improve the lives of UK’s Deaf LGBT population.”
Findings will be used to engage in discussions with health providers and service providers to increase emphasis on service user involvement and encourage their role in the planning and delivery of healthcare services.

Current funding regulations stipulates that the funding has to be allocated organisations based in England. However, we strongly urge organisations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to join us in taking this project forward.

The Deaf LGBTIQA project is just over a year old and has grown its work with our small group of volunteers.  Here’s to great and brighter things for our organisation.

Gary Cutmore, an inspiration

Gary Cutmore is an inspiration to the Deaf LGBTIQA+ community as he won the Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year in April 2019 at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2019. Student Nursing Times is the biggest nursing magazine outside the United States that has been running for over 100 years since it’s launch in 1905 to assist and inform trainee and qualified nurses of updated information, news and healthcare policies. Gary who grew up in Essex, is now living in Dagenham and is a deaf gay BSL user. I asked him a few questions about his achievement. 

Tell me more about yourself? 

I’m not sure what to say about myself. I’ve won an award – Nursing Times Award for Most Inspirational Student Of The Year. I’m currently studying a foundation degree in Nursing Associate and I’m on my final year. I’m hoping to do a mental health degree as an addition after this course as I hope to work in this field in the future.

Can you tell me why you think you won the award, and what barriers you have had to overcome to get to where you are.

I work hard to achieve where I want to be. I’m proactive and make time to support all patients and staff at work placements and at my current job. I’m told that I’m caring, thoughtful and empathetic. I’m always thriving to learn more about nursing. I guess that people can see that I’m compassionate about my role, and I don’t let my deafness define me. I am an individual student who wants to learn and work hard hence that may be why I won the award. 

How did your patients in your workplace react with you having interpreters adding to your and your patients’ communication?

Some patients were fine with me being deaf and having interpreter aiding the communication between us, although some were confused who to talk towards as they would talk to the interpreter as if they were the student nurse, and ignore me but I keep reminding them with a smile that I’m the student nurse in order for them to focus on me.

What support do you have in your studies?

I have BSL interpreters at university and work placements to give me access in full communication. When in some circumstances, I don’t have a BSL interpreter in place, it can be a challenge especially in a group, but I try my hardest to lip-read and write down the essential information. But I won’t let that stop me to continue to work in my role as a nursing associate. I’m determined and don’t let my deafness stop me from where I want to be.

What’s your background- what school did you go to? Was university your first hearing environment?

I went to mainstream school at Sanders Drapers School, which had a Partially Hearing Unit. I had a Communication Support Worker support me in classroom. There was only one other deaf student in my school, a hard of hearing girl in my year. I went to mainstream college as well. So no, university was not my first hearing environment. Also, I grew up in a hearing family; however, I’m lucky that my mum can sign.

What do you hope to do in your career, would you want to do nursing in a specific area? And what challenges will you face when you go up the ladder in your career, and how do you think you will overcome that? Will you be using Access TWork? 

I want to become a qualified mental health nurse. I already have a job working on a deaf ward in a mental health hospital as a trainee nursing associate, and I’d like to return to my workplace as a qualified mental health nurse to support the patients. There communication is not an issue for me, however I have Access to Work to pay for interpreters to support me with telephone calls to communicate with staff/family and for multidisciplinary team meetings to communicate with hearing staff. Also, I use interpreters to communicate with patients’ families and for some patients who cannot sign. It is challenging when I go on work placements at general hospitals or care homes to support all staff and patients, however I am thankful that I have Access to Work to pay for interpreters as I find it really helpful.

As this interview is for the LGBTIQA+ UK website, can you tell me a little about your coming out experience

Yup, coming out, gosh.. umm I guess I was lucky to have some friends came out before me, so it was easier for me to come out as I had build up my confidence in preparation to come out to them as a teenager. I was 18 years old I think. 

I came out to my mum when I was 20 but she knew all along and was waiting for me to come out. My deaf friends and I used to meet up every Tuesday at a local gay bar where we would meet new people. It was a good community.

And that’s where I met my first boyfriend.

Have you faced any barriers or discimination as a gay man? What advice would you give to deaf people who are in the process of coming out? 

When I was a teenager, I had some teenagers calling me all sorts and that did knock my confidence down, but I ignored them and knew they weren’t my friends. Of course, I felt hurt but I didn’t want to waste my time spending with negative and fake people. I had my own friends – gays and straights who treated me with respect.  My gay friends inspired me because they were out and proud to be themselves and enjoying their lives. They worked hard to achieve many things in their lives and enjoyed their lives instead of allowing people to pull them down. My straight friends accept me for who I am and treat me as an individual – Gary, instead of making my sexuality a label as this is not all who I am.

Fortunately I did not face any discrimative issues in my career so far. 

My advice to people who are caming out or planning to come out one day – be yourself. You don’t have to impress anyone because everyone’s an individual. Everyone’s different anyway. Don’t do what people think you should do.

You do what you want to do as long as you’re happy and comfortable without anypressure.

Ignore the haters.

Best of luck Gary in your career from all of us in the Deaf LGBTIQA community, as you are an inspiration! See the video link below of his interview for the Nursing Times, which has BSL

Follow Gary on Twitter: @garycutmore

Sahera’s film – can you help?

https://youtu.be/o1LRm-ahAgI

My name is Sahera Khan; I am British South Asian Deaf and Muslim My native language is British Sign Language and I am currently a freelance writer, artist/actress, filmmaker and YouTuber. My website is sahera1.tumblr.com.

In summer 2019 I will make a short film called ‘Blind to See’. ‘Blind to See’ is a working title; the genre of the film is drama and it talks about LGBT+ issues. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of D/deaf Muslim LGBT+ minority.

The film would be suitable for a wide diverse audience anywhere from young people to older adults, especially the Muslim audience.

A brief synopsis: Character A and Character B are close family, one of them is LGBT+ and they want to reveal this to the other.

The project will cost £800 and this will be spent on production costs: fees for my time, cameraperson fees, editing fees, travel expenses, cast expenses, possible insurance costs, hire costs for day shoot at a cafe and film festival entry fees.

I am counting on your support for my project. To donate, please go to http://kck.st/2vuX1Wv ,which also includes a BSL video with English subtitles/captions and great rewards if you wish to contribute. The link also includes more information about the project.

If you are unable to contribute financially, please take a moment to share my project news with your communities and networks. I appreciate your time.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at skhan01@live.co.uk

Cervical Cancer Screening – its not just for Straight Women

I want to talk about Cervical Cancer Screening. Cervical cancer is not just a straight woman’s issue, as it affects LGBT and trans who may have internal female parts too.

It is concerning as currently 3,000 women are diagnosed every year, and an average of 900 women die every year. This figure includes LGBT and trans women. At the moment one in three ignore screening letters and do not bother to book the simple screening test. There are several reasons why they don’t do the test – they may be embarrassed that healthcare staff will be looking at their private parts, but they are so used to see lots of bodies every day, it’s not a big issue for them! And it only takes five minutes.

There was a brief peak uptake on screening tests when Jade Goody, a Big Brother celebrity discovered too late that she had cervical cancer in 2008. Even though she only had eight months to live, she was very open about her journey and campaigned to encourage more women to get tested. But sadly, the peak is gone and the government is now concerned by the low uptake.

Due to their research National LGBT Partnership have discovered that 37% of LGBT and trans have been told by healthcare professionals not to do the test as there was no risk for them, as they don’t do straight sex. But HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer is passed on through skin to skin intimate contact too so there is a risk for them. So this disinformation is concerning.

Public Health England, an government organisation is currently doing a public campaign to remove the disinformation amongst healthcare staff and advising LGBT to go get tested regularly too. It’s not just the UK that has this problem as in other western countries, there is a misinformation issue among healthcare professionals too.

It’s so easy to get tested, just go to your GP and they will book one for you and the test is only 5 minutes, so there is no need to be embarrassed as it could just save your life! Please think about it.

More information:

PHE Screening blog – https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk

NHS Cervical Screening (CSP) Programme – https://www.gov.uk/topic/population-screening-programmes/cervical

NHS Cervical Screening – https://www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening

#TransDayofVisibility

Sunday 31st March 2019 is #TransDayofVisibility
DeafLGBTIQA is publishing this interview done by Abigail Gorman which was featured in issue 1 of EUDY’s magazine, OFC! and has permission from Samantha, thanks!
Have a look at www.deaflgbtiqa.org.uk. If you are transgender or you would like to improve our website/work please get in touch!
Samantha Pearsall: From bullying and depression to acceptance and love.
Hi Samantha, thanks for the time to talk to me. I’ve known you for a while, but our readers don’t. Would you like to fill them in on who you are?
No problems! Hi, I’m Samantha and I’m 31 years old. I was born in Middlesborough, a city in the North-East of England. I now live in Manchester, and I work as an Service Manager. Oh… and I was born as Richard.
Yes, that’s right. Samantha is a transgendered woman, and she has decided to share her story with us. So, where did it all start?
 
I remember when I was six years old, my parents took my brothers and I to our favourite toy store, TOYS R US, and told us we could go and take whatever we liked. Obviously we went crazy and ran up and down the aisles, looking at all kinds of toys! My brothers came back to our parents, clutching Action Men figures, and I came back holding a Little Mermaid and Belle from Beauty and the Beast figurines. My father told me nicely to put the toys away and to get something else. I didn’t understand why I was being told to put my toys away but my brothers weren’t. I refused to listen to him, and stood my ground. My mother took my father one side and had a quiet discussion. They came back to me and told me that I was allowed to take the figurines home, on one condition – I wasn’t allowed to take them to school with me – this confused me, but I agreed. That was the moment I realised I was slightly different, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it exactly was. I didn’t really understand what gender was at the time.
Wow. That must have been a confusing time for you.
It was, definitely. It wasn’t until I was eight years old that I began to realise why I was different. I realised I was a girl. You have to remember, this was Middlesborough in the 90s. Boys had to grow up to be strong, strapping footballing lads. If I came out with that, I would’ve been beaten to a pulp. So, I didn’t say anything. Instead, I would creep into the bathroom and wrap the towel around my wet head, because that was what all the girls did. I would also go into my mother’s closet and try on her clothes when she was away. I wanted to be a girl and doing that was the only time I actually felt normal.
But you didn’t come out at that time, did you?
No, I didn’t. I would get bullied at school for being too feminine. Every time there was a fancy dress event, I would jump at the chance to wear dresses! I would dance to the cheesiest pop music ever, and play with my Little Mermaid and Belle figurines. My brothers would be confused by how girly I was being. When I was eleven, I noticed that I was growing up in a very male dominated society, and I was supposed to behave in a certain way. So, I put my feelings aside and tried to be the person they all expected me to be and started playing football.
What was going through your head at the time?
Well, as the years went by, I became more skilled at hiding my feelings. I knew I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be, and it killed me. Whenever I climbed into the shower, I would hide my genitals so I wouldn’t be reminded that I was in the wrong body. It was a very stressful time for me, and playing football was actually a outlet for my frustration. Don’t get me wrong, I had fantastic childhood with my family but I also  had to battle my demons.
Your demons? Can you tell me more?
You see, I would look at myself in the mirror and what I’d see didn’t match with how I felt. It was awful, and every time I looked in the mirror, I was being taunted. In my mind and heart, I was a woman, but what I saw in front of me was a chubby boy.
A chubby boy? That’s right! I remember the first time I met you. It was at Manchester Gay Pride! Your name was Richard, you were slightly overweight, living in Middlesborough and if I remember correctly, you were also gay?
Haha! That’s right. When I was twelve, I realised I had feelings for boys. As you can imagine, this only added to the confusion. I didn’t know if I was a girl or a gay boy. It was a nightmarish time for me, so I sought comfort in food and shopping. The pounds piled on me as I ate away my pain and the pounds piled up as I tried to hide my pain with nice clothes and hairstyles. Unfortunately this meant I ended up in debt. Like I said earlier on, this was Middlesborough, I couldn’t tell anyone I liked boys. My mother suspected though.. she approached me when I was sixteen and told me that if I wanted to came out, she would support me.
When did you come out? Why did you decide to come out as a gay man instead of a transgendered woman?
When I was seventeen, I realised that I couldn’t hide my feelings anymore. I became ill and suffered with depression because deep inside, I knew that I was a woman. No arguments. I was tired of hiding who I was. I just simply wanted to be myself. It was also at this point that my brother decided to come out as gay! I felt having two gay sons would be too much for my mother and father, let alone having a transgendered daughter! So… I kept my mouth quiet. I eventually came out as gay when I was eighteen, and they weren’t surprised.
What prompted the move to Manchester?
I was twenty-one when I decided to move to Manchester. I felt like I couldn’t be who I was in Middlesborough. As much as I loved it, it just wasn’t the place for me. So, I packed up my bags and moved to Manchester. I moved in with my best friend, Rusty. We would go out partying on Canal Street, I lost lots of weight, had a gorgeous apartment in a prime location and I enjoyed my job. Life was good, but I still hadn’t taken the step I wanted to so badly – coming out as a woman. I wanted to confide in Rusty, but I was scared of being rejected. So… I spoke to Rusty’s brother instead! I told him how I felt and he told me that it was my choice. As much as I appreciated him being understanding, I felt that statement wasn’t helpful at all! I spoke to Rusty, and interestingly enough, he struggled with it. He thought I was going through a phase. It stung a bit, but I left him be. As time went by, he would see how happy I was when I dressed up as a woman and realised that he had to put his views aside and support me. Looking back now, I realise that he found it difficult as he thought he would be losing me. He struggled to accept it because he didn’t want to face that happening.
So, when did Richard become Samantha?
Well, I was working in the Mental Health department in the Forensic Unit, and every day I would see clients whose lives had been turned upside down by stress, depression and what have you. I remember one particular night, I was doing my rounds, checking up on my clients. In every room I checked in on, I would find them sitting on the edge of their beds, with their heads in their hands. They were truly depressed and unhappy with their lives. I realised that if I didn’t seek help, I would be well on my way to actually sitting on that bed myself.
What did your parents say?
My family struggled with it. They found it hard to accept the fact that their son no longer wanted to be their son. I think my father found it more difficult than my mother did. He had a baby boy, built a bond with him throughout his childhood and now that little boy wants to be a woman? It was confusing for them, and they didn’t know who they could talk to. There wasn’t a service that could provide counselling to parents with children wanting to go through transition. My parents say that now they realise the emotions they were experiencing was grief, the child they brought up has suddenly died. However, with time, those feelings passed and they accepted my new identity. They were really supportive. Granted, they found it hard to accept but they’ve always been supportive of my transition. During my transition, I knew they wanted to see a glimpse of Richard, but I had to be true to myself. Richard was no more, and Samantha was here to stay. They finally accepted it and came with me to hospital appointments. They came with me to my operation because they knew it was a new start for me, and therefore it had to be a new start for them as well. They welcomed Samantha as Richard’s twin sister.
What happened next? You have a funny story, don’t you?
Haha! That’s right. I made an appointment with the gender clinic and told them I wanted to transition. I was sitting in the office when the doctor came in. He didn’t look at the notes, and just started talking about what a female-to male would entail. I was in shock. I had to correct him! At the time, I was outraged by their incompetency, but now I can look back and laugh, and feel flattered that he thought I was a female! They told me that I had to dress up a female for a year or so before I could have the operation. I had to experience life as a woman, and prepare myself mentally for it before going ahead with it. This came easily to me and I embraced it!
So… the operation came and went. How did you feel afterwards?
Oh… it was unbelievable. It was amazing. It was finally Day One of my new life as a woman. This was finally the day I had craved for my whole life. I never thought I’d get to this point, but there I was. A woman. It was… freedom. I was finally released and able to live life as the person I’ve always wanted to be. I wouldn’t have done it without the support and love I received from my family and friends. They gave me the courage to be the person I wanted to be – no, sorry. They gave me the courage to be the person I really was.
Awh, bless. I’m feeling a little bit emosh now. How do you think life may be different for trans kids in school right now?
Because of the Equality Act finally being put into place, trans children are now in the ‘Protected characteristics’ category. This means they are now given the freedom to the person they want to be. This is a positive step for every trans children in the UK. The children in the class don’t know any better. It’s up to society to lead the way by showing acceptance towards people who are in the ‘protected characteristics’ category.
For those who have no idea what being transgendered means, what do they need to understand?
Everyone needs to understand being transgendered is not a choice. A transgendered person has identified their body and mind isn’t compatible, and therefore has to change in order to feel comfortable within their body.
Would you agree that the trans movement is gaining momentum? Why do you think the reason for this is?
Yes, I agree. Our Facebook – DeafTransDivaWorld – is a perfect example why the Trans Movement is gaining momentum. Social media is a perfect platform for transgendered people all over the world to connect with each other. People are becoming politically savvy, using Facebook/Twitter as a way of keeping into touch with everyone to raise awareness and to push for social change all over the world.
Transgendered celebrities are becoming more noticeable in the public eye now. Laverne Cox and Chaz Bono, who are LGBT advocates and gay rights activists, are speaking out about issues that affects the community. Stonewall’s campaign – Some people are Trans, get over it – is such a powerful message, and I think it has made an impact. Transgendered people belong to a small community, and if you add deafness to the mix, that community becomes much smaller. Deaf transgendered people are scattered all over the world, but DeafTransDivaWorld connects them and gives them the opportunity to share their experiences, ideas, information and enables them to build a strong and supportive network to help them throughout their transition.
Why do you think some people are uncomfortable? What’s your response to people who oppose the trans-friendly laws?
This is down to their attitude/culture/education/religion. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own views, opinions and beliefs. But you should also accept that everyone is different in their own way and once you accept that, society can move forward.
What are your words of advice to someone who is still confused about who they are?
Talk to someone you trust if you’re experiencing discomfort or uncertainty about your gender. The important thing is to talk to a person you trust, whether it be a teacher, parents or friends. Do not suffer in silence, this will only make the situation worse. Sometimes your parents will more supportive than you thought they would be. Coming out as Trans is never an easy decision. Sometimes it’s best to seek help from your doctor – they can refer you to the appropriate counselling service for Deaf such as for example: BSL Healthy Minds from SignHealth in the UK and/or seeing a gender specialist.

HIV testing week

On November 17th it is HIV testing week.

One of our colleagues, Damian Brewer, has been working with the Terence Higgins Trust as part of his day job, and they have created a video.

Have a look here

Please share the video with others, encourage people to go for testing.